Monday Excerpt: Demolition at the Crossroads

Nightingale-The-League-by-Anthony-KarczGood news, everyone! Tomorrow is going to be the day that Nightingale hits the virtual shelves again! Self-published this time, so the whole thing lives and dies by my ability to get the word out; which is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

But before tomorrow, before my relentless cheerleading, how about a bribe for your patience? I’m still kicking around this scene for Book 2, figuring out where it fits in. It’s the beginning of a battle between Entropy (you might remember her from the end of Nightingale) and a new hero, Demolition – he’s essentially a walking public works project, think Fantastic Four’s Thing, but all asphalt. Enjoy!

Demolition at the Crossroads

She stood at the center of the intersection, her arms buried in the soft asphalt.

“Why do you think I chose this spot? The rage lauded upon this intersection day after day. The blood and oil and fire spilled to consecrate this earth. The blaring of hate. The wails of grief. The reverent offerings at the corner, consecrated with heart blood. You’ve passed by here every day, not realizing you were crossing over a church, holy ground.”

She pulled upwards and the road came with her, slowly at first, then gaining speed as a form started to take shape. Soon there stood a figure in front of her, vaguely human, skin the gritty gray black of the road, decorated with iridescent yellow stripes. Its eyes were reflective pips. When it moved, the sound promised abraded flesh.

Demolition brought his fists together with the sound of a car crash. “That supposed to scare me? Have you seen me?”

Entropy tilted her head. “No. Not in the slightest. I was just hoping to get through to you how pedestrian you were, little golem.”

“Don’t know what that is. Don’t care, either.” He punched the roadway, goading the creature at her side.

“Oh, but you should.” She held a hand out, rooting the elemental in place. “Beings made of clay, or mud, or stone. Rough beasts that are only crude approximations of humanity.”

“Yeah, that doesn’t figure, sister, seeing as I’m me. Not some hunka dirt.”

“True, you have a little extra in there. All that means is that your bones have given you purpose.” A faint purple glow appeared at her fingers, quickly replicated in the eyes of her construct. “You’ve just forgotten that you’re dead, that’s all.”

“Feelin pretty spry.” Demolition cracked his neck, an old habit that wasn’t nearly as satisfying anymore. “You gonna jabber all day or did I just come down here to watch you play paddy cake with that thing?”

“No. You came down here to witness a birth…and a death. Sorry about that last one.” With a gesture, Entropy released the control she had on the elemental and it surged forward with an eerie silence.

Demolition steadied himself as the thing bounded towards him, more like a gorilla than man, its knuckles taking chunks of road with it as it propelled itself. He engaged hydraulics in his armor to steady his stance, brace himself for the impact. It was time to put that old Muay Thai training to work.

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